If you suspect that your ears are not what they used to be, a hearing test performed by a professional provider is your best first step towards confirming or alleviating your concerns. A lot of people avoid taking this step because they are afraid of what they might learn. But knowledge is never a bad thing. No doctor can force you to get an assistive listening device if you do not want one. It will always be up to you. But at least you'll have the information you need to make a choice about your well being. How do you know if you might need a screening? Here are some symptoms that your ears might be failing you.

Muffled Sounds

Have you ever walked out of a loud sporting event or a rock concert and marveled at how everything sounded as if you were underwater? For many people with auditory loss and injury, this muffled, plugged feeling never really goes away. Sounds begin to seem distant and foggy. It can be difficult to understand what people are saying, even when they raise their voices. In addition to sounds growing muffled, the speech itself can begin to sound distorted. Of course, you should have a hearing test long before your ability to hear degrades to this point. Even so, if you have not noticed medical attention yet, it's never too late.


Many in the early stages of auditory loss will begin to experience tinnitus, which is the medical term for ringing in the ears. This symptom will often manifest before any other auditory loss is present (although, of course, it's hard to hear when you have a high pitched whine obscuring sounds). Tinnitus does not necessarily mean you've contracted permanent ear damage, of course. Have a hearing test done and talk to your doctor about the ringing you're experiencing. It could be an occasion to check your ears and see if there is not a health issue causing the problem.

Cranking The Volume

Often, the first signs of ear damage are not noticed by the individual suffering from the condition, but rather by the people in their lives. A wife, for instance, will notice that her husband begins cranking the volume on the television far beyond where she needs it to hear everything clearly. It can even become a point of contention among spouses or friends. Do not ignore these warning signs. The earlier you get a hearing test and have your issues addresses, the better chance you have of retaining as much of your natural ability to hear as possible.